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Keys to the Game: Bulls at Magic (02.22.19)

Tonight the Chicago Bulls (14-44) visit Central Florida to acquire on the Orlando Magic (27-32) for the fourth and final time this season. The Magic have gained two of the initially a few meetings, the final of which took spot on Chicago’s West Facet on January 2nd. That night time Orlando snapped a six-activity losing streak in blowing out the Bulls, 112-84. Forward Aaron Gordon run the Magic with 18 details, seven rebounds and 9 assists, although Antonio Blakeney and Shaquille Harrison just about every posted 11 off the bench to lead Chicago.

Orlando hits the home hardwood this evening hoping the just concluded NBA All-Star hiatus has not killed or slowed the momentum they experienced created with a five activity successful streak heading into the break. The final time they performed the Magic thumped Charlotte, 127-89, guiding reserve forward Terrence Ross’ 21 details off the bench. Starting off heart and the latest All-Star Nikola Vucevic also notched his fifth straight double-double with 17 details and 11 rebounds, although Gordon chipped in 10 details and 10 rebounds. Vucevic is making the most of the ideal season of his eight-yr profession, averaging 20.5 details and 12.1 rebounds. So significantly he’s led the Magic in scoring 26 periods, rebounding a staff-superior 47 periods and in assists on 12 events. He’s also posted a staff-ideal 41 double-doubles, which now ranks fourth in the league.

Like the Magic, the Bulls are also coming off an outstanding win the final time they performed, defeating Memphis at the United Heart, 122-110. As a staff, the Bulls shot 56.3 per cent from the field all round, such as going 8-of-20 from guiding the 3-position arc (40 per cent), and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Grizzlies 47-31. Recently acquired forward Otto Porter Jr. shot a scorching 16-of-20 from the field, such as 3-of-5 from deep, to lead Chicago with 37 details.

In four games with the Bulls, Porter Jr. is hitting a preposterous 62.1 per cent of his photographs all round although averaging 22.5 details, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in virtually 35 minutes.

Another vital Chicago player of late has been 2nd-yr forward Lauri Markkanen. The seven-foot Finn has posted 20+ details and snared 10+ rebounds in five-consecutive games. It is the initially time in his profession he’s notched five straight double-doubles, and if he can set 20 or more details on the board once again tonight it’ll be the seventh straight time he would have completed this kind of a feat. More than his final five games Markkanen is contributing 24.4 details, 13.2 rebounds, 3. assists, although taking pictures 14-of-35 (40.%) from guiding the arc, and 42-of-89 (47.2%) all round.

Zach LaVine has also been taking part in the ideal ball of his profession not long ago. The 6’5 guard has been torching the twine to the tune of 24.4 details, taking pictures 9-of-22 (40.9%) from deep, 45-of-84 (53.6%) all round, as well as 23-of-29 (79.3%) from the charity stripe although dishing 6.4 assists above his final five outings.

Though Chicago’s gained-loss file is not nearly anything to brag about, the reality is the Bulls’ offense has started the really click not long ago. For case in point, Chicago averaged just 95.6 details for each activity in December, with a fairly paltry offensive rating of 97.. In January, they averaged 104. details for each activity, with a mediocre offensive rating of 102.7. But in six February contests, the Bulls are placing up 118.2 details with an outstanding offensive rating of 115.9.

In buy for Chicago to come out on prime tonight they are going to have to aim on out hustling Orlando at equally finishes of the flooring.

Offensively the Bulls require to hold the ball going from player-to-player to get everybody concerned in the motion. The ball ought to also skip from facet-to-facet to force the Magic’s defense to scramble and burn up electricity. To that close Chicago’s main playmakers (Kris Dunn, LaVine, Markkanen as well as Porter Jr.) have to strike the flooring with the exact aggressive state of mind and attack the rim at every single opportunity.

Defensively as a staff, Chicago will require to hold Vucevic in examine, particularly on the glass, forcing him out of his comfort and ease zone as much as possible. If the Bulls can keep their individual or probably even assume command of the defensive boards, they ought to be able to exploit their all round athleticism by continually grabbing control of the ball and running down the flooring to article quick and straightforward scores in advance of Orlando has time to established up.

Starting off position guard, Kris Dunn, missed the Memphis activity final 7 days right after using a tough fall a pair of evenings before versus Milwaukee. The 3rd-yr playmaker practiced Wednesday and yesterday and ought to be superior to go tonight. Dunn’s blue collar, hardnosed mentality will no question be a welcome addition to Chicago’s attack.

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